February 27, 2022
Football season is here, and it is playoff time

I would guess that one of the most popular outdoor sports everywhere is football. Well, at least it’s my favorite. During this time of the year almost every time you turn on the T.V. you can find a football game to watch. The news sports broadcasters on every station are giving updates on teams, players, and game scores. The sports pages of newspapers are full of the same information on every level, from the Pee Wee level and up through the professional level. Teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers have not had tickets available to the general public since the late sixties or early seventies. There has been a waiting list to buy season tickets since the late 1960s or early 1970s. My son was on the waiting list for approximately 25 years before he was able to get his. The price for just the license rights to purchase these tickets is about $20,000. I am not sure exactly what the price is, but I am pretty sure it is around that figure. Every year the price of the tickets goes up. For tickets up in peanut heave, or as we say the nose bleed section cost a couple of thousand dollars a year. It is nice to see the game on T.V. but to be there in person is even better for most.” Tailgating” starts anywhere from about four to six hours before start time, and sometimes even longer than that so you can get a parking space. Colleges like Penn State and Michigan State average around 110,000 people in the stands per game. Football has been my favorite sport for at least fifty years. I coached football at various levels for 30 plus years and loved it. I raised three boys of my own who all love football. My oldest son played college football, on a team that won the national championship. I don’t remember the exact year of the game, but I do remember the weather conditions and they were horrible. We didn’t have a lot of disposable cash at that time so my wife and I and my two youngest boys decide to load up the car and drive about twelve hours to the game instead of flying. It had to be one of the worst drives of my life. The weather was horrible, and the highway driving was treacherous. The roads were wet, slushy, and ice-covered. Every time a truck went past it splashed up muddy water and slush on my windshield, which made it very hard to see. The wind from the truck tended to push our car one way or the other on the slick road, and they seemed to pass quite often. We arrived at our destination late that evening and it was hard to get any sleep because of all the noise and partying in the hotel. The next day we went to the game and the weather was again not the best. It was snow mixed with rain and high winds. The winds were so high that when the rain would hit your face it would sting like a bee sting. It hurt. My grandson is now playing college football on a scholarship, at a college about six hours away, and we had a similar experience when we attend one of his games for the first time this year. Needless to say, there is a lot of expensive equipment needed to play this sport. When athletes are in high school, not much of this is provided for them. Most of the equipment is paid for by either the parents or a booster organization. When they get to college everything is provided, and often more than they need.

Fans also need some special clothing and equipment to watch the games. When you go to youth football games, they are often played in a field that doesn’t have bleachers stands to sit in, therefore, unless you want to stand for the entire game you usually need to have a comfortable lawn chair to bring with you to the game. That can become quite uncomfortable after a couple of hours. Stadium bench seating can also become uncomfortable so you should have some type of stadium seat with a back and a soft seat to sit on. These are sold everywhere, and in many cases can be purchased through the booster clubs or team parents. Since football games are a fall sport, you can never be sure what the weather will be like by half time so you might want to bring a jacket or a blanket in case the weather changes from nice to not so nice. Rain snow and cold weather often creep up on you unexpectedly. Nothing can be more miserable than watching a game soaking wet and freezing. Ponchos are always good items to carry with you, especially at high school games. I can remember once when my son was playing in a high school game the weather wasn’t bad at all when we left our home field to drive about an hour and a half to the other school. When we reached the other school the weather had done a complete turnaround and it was not only cold but the wind was unbelievably high. The rain and sleet were hitting so hard it was leaving marks on our exposed faces. I didn’t have a poncho so I found some large garbage bags and cut a hole in the bottom, turned it around, and made a poncho for some protection, unfortunately, the jacket I was wearing wasn’t very heavy, and by the end of the game, I could not wait to get into my car and turn on the heater. An umbrella of some type would also be an important item to carry with you as well. You can buy umbrellas that are made just for this purpose and they don’t block the view of other fans. All of this may not sound like fun, but it is worth it to watch a game in person, and when you look back, you realize it was great fun. It’s an experience you will never forget. I think football is the most exciting sport you can watch because of all of the action of the game and the unexpected outcome of every play. It is a fast-moving game, and it also has to be played with precision. You have eleven players on the field on both offense and defense. All eleven players must play as one. In other words, every player must know what the other members of his team a going to do in every single play. If the team doesn’t work together as one, then you won’t stand a chance of winning the game. This takes a lot of practice, and every play can change in an instant so every player has to know what to do if that happens.